Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Keep that thought

Like many people I am often trying to juggle several different projects at the same time.  Currently, there is a sourcing project, a raft of new courses, work on contract management, and a major programme focussing on smes in supply chains that starts in April 2012.  Along with that I have agreed to write two new books (short ones this time) as part of a new range designed by Stuart Emmett (my co-author on Excellence in Public Sector Procurement).

To keep track of these, and any ideas that come along to me, I have a system of paper and electronic folders and a number of project plans and timelines. 

For the books and courses Stuart has an excellent filing system of case studies, news paper clippings and reference documents.  I find that once things hit my filing cabinet they tend to stay there.

So I am experimenting with Evernote, which is an electronic app that syncs across my phone, pcs and laptops and allows me to drop documents, images, web pages  - basically any electronic stuff - into a folder marked with key words.  It seems to be helping with the early stage process of grabbing a lot of things and looking at them until you can see what fits and what does not.  I thought it might be helpful for others too.  It is a freemium programme (free for limited use), and not I am not getting a cut.

Other productivity tools I use are Dropbox, which allows me to sync a folder of documents across my phone, laptops and pcs and is invaluable in allowing me to work on the same document in many different places.  It also reduces the worry for a travelling trainer that I might somehow lose my laptop and presentation - I can always retrieve a copy from my Dropbox.  Again freemium product - you get a limited amount of space free, but have to pay for more.  If you are interested, then we can both get more space for free if I refer you into Dropbox.

As a trainer I frequently subject people to "Death by PowerPoint".  Personally I rather like it, but I know some people hate it.  For a recent (successful) pitch we used Prezi instead, which was a rather more fun and interesting way of showing information.  Again this is free to try, but anyone can see what you produce.  A limited licence is $59/year or $159/year for the full version.  I had an objection to paying for an annual license, but it was pointed out to me that even Microsoft Office has a limited life before it is fundamentally obsolete - isnt that similar to paying an annual license?  Reasonable point.

So now to actually try and use these productivity tools to be productive, rather than blogging about them.  If you want to follow up on Evernote there is an interesting article about it on The Next Web here.

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